I’ve had lot’s of people who come to my classes having suffered with sciatica in the past and were told by their GP that doing Pilates or core strengthening exercises might benefit them.

As sciatica can be caused by a variety of reasons it’s important to check with your GP first as to what the underlying cause is before starting a Pilates class.

What Is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a term given to pain caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve. 

The sciatica nerve is the longest nerve in the body and runs from the back of the pelvis, through the buttocks and down the back of both legs.

When the nerve is compressed it can cause pain that starts in the lower back and runs down the back of one leg. The pain can range from mild to very painful.

Sciatica can be caused by a spinal disc bulge, piriformis syndrome, being too sedentary or experiencing an impact trauma (e.g a fall, car accident).

Signs & Symptoms

Sciatica can be different from one person to the next but most commonly pain will be felt down the back of one leg and might feel worse when sneezing, coughing or sitting for a long period of time.

Numbness and a tingling pins and needles sensation can also be felt.

Emergency care is required if feeling sciatica pain down both legs, losing sensation between your legs, around your buttocks and control of your bladder control is very serious. In this case symptoms may be due to a serious back problem and require hospital treatment asap.

How to Prevent Sciatica

You can minimise the risk of developing sciatica by:

  • Having better posture
  • Improving the strength of your core muscles, gluteal muscles and having better flexibility
  • Exercising regularly and being more active daily
  • Using correct technique for lifting things off the floor (practice hip hinge and squat exercises)